Word of the Day: titivate

There are numerous battles being fought right now, and I’m here to tell you that I wish I didn’t feel like I was losing all the time.  Instead, I think I will move right along to…

Today’s Word:


As in:

An unexpected development has taken the attention of contingency planners as they map out survival plans for the impending zombie apocalypse.  Scientists have noted a new strain of zombie virus.

Called the chlorophyll strain, this version primarily infects living plants.

Once infected, the plants develop crude “teeth” and an insatiable craving for fiber.  The plants, not being particularly mobile,  then must wait for a strong gust of wind to blow them within biting distance of a potential victim. If close enough, the infected plant will clamp its teeth onto its victim and greedily devour what it can. The bitten plant, if enough of it survives the procedure, will, in turn develop its own teeth and cravings and the cycle will begin again.

“It is uncertain at this time whether a plant infected with this strain can pass it onto an animal host,” said Dr. Robert Neville, the researcher who discovered the strain. “While it seems likely, based upon the cravings, that the infected have no desire to bite animals, and are, therefore, not a threat to humans, I haven’t been able to rule it out. Further, the disease, if it were loose, is a virus, and they tend to change. ”

Dr. Neville indicated that there was no reason to panic about what might happen to food-producing plants, or how likely it was that the strain would get into the food chain. “Right now, the strain has only been discovered in the lab, where it is tightly controlled.  It is highly unlikely that it could escape into the wild. Why, just before the start of this press conference, I spent several moments in the lab, making double sure everything was clean and locked down. It is a simple thing to titivate a plant lab, you know. They don’t have much in the way of unpleasant bodily fluids like we humans.”

Some researchers, which informed of the discovery, were much more willing to provide the media with fuel for a panic.

“With all due respect to Dr. Neville, a strain which infects all flora is a serious concern. Any strain of zombie virus will mutate the victim to a brain craving, violent, dangerous foe. That’s what makes a zombie a zombie. Who ever heard of a *fiber* craving zombie? Ridiculous. Plants don’t need fiber. They don’t have colons,” said a Dr. Felix Montoya, a rival of Dr. Neville’s who was much more interesting to interview.

“It is clear that there is only a matter of time before the world’s food is contaminated with brain craving plant zombies. Not only will the contagion eliminate our food supplies, but, it will infect people and animals who ingest it, and it will transfer the infection with its bite. The only good news is that people should be able to easily avoid being bitten by zombie plants. The bad news is that they will need to avoid eating them as well. Probably.”

I came up with the idea of zombie plants while looking out the window, watching the wind blow the plants into the sidewalk, and thinking, what if you were walking on that path and the plants were infected, and… Well, you got all that from reading the story. Probably.

titivate / TIT – ev – ATE / to make or become smart or spruce